Plans for the new Northfield Leisure Centre will go on display to members of the public at an exhibition next month.

Brand new facility

nlc1The current leisure centre and pool building will be demolished, starting in September this year. Work on a new building at the current site will commence in November, and it is anticipated that the new centre will open in April 2018.

The facility will include a 6 lane 25m pool, a learner pool, changing facilities, a fitness suite, a dance studio and a community room.

Location debate

A long and heated debate and consultation on the location of a new build centre followed Birmingham City Council’s decision to build a new facility back in 2014. Options included the current site, the Longbridge redevelopment and Prices Square in the centre of Northfield.

A decision was made in March last year that the new build would go ahead on the current site.

Alternative facilities during rebuild

imageThe running of the site, along with 7 others, has now been taken over by the Serco managed Birmingham Community Leisure Trust and the centre will remain operational until demolition in September.

Tiverton Pool in Selly Oak, earmarked for closure, will be kept open as an alternative facility while the Northfield new build takes place.

Historic landmark lost

The history of Northfield baths:

Image by Yanat on Panoramio
Cropped from image by Yanat on Panoramio | Click for original
  • Northfield baths opened on 8th May 1937 and were the first in Birmingham to be built solely for the purpose of recreation.
  • The building was designed by Henry Simister for the Birmingham Baths Committee. There were two pools, as there are now, with a large cafe overlooking.
  • The fitness suite was added in the 1980s.
  • The refurbishment in 2003 was the last major spend on the building.
  • Situated opposite the Black Horse on Bristol Road South, the building is considered a local landmark.

Although the landmark facade of the building is to be lost, proposed plans include retaining some of the key features of the building – such as the weather vane – in the landscaping around the new centre.

imageNorthfield MP Richard Burden said: “I am disappointed that it looks like the facade of the current building is not being retained. It is an important local landmark and that will be lost even if the new pool preserves a few features from the old one. It looks like the loss of the facade is down to shortage of space on the existing pool site. This was one of the reasons I supported building a new leisure centre somewhere else – like Northfield’s Price’s Square just up the road. That option wasn’t to be, though, and we need to make what has been agreed work as well as possible. The key thing is that Northfield needs a quality new pool and leisure centre, and it is getting one.”

Improved facilities

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “The £8million investment into rebuilding the Northfield Leisure facility is expected to support wider regeneration in the area, as well as greatly enhance the health and fitness provision for local residents by making sporting activity and swimming more accessible to a greater number of people wanting to enjoy an active lifestyle.

“The community area will offer a great space for hosting community functions and events in a safe, secure and modern environment.”

Northfield MP Richard Burden said: “The Council promised to build a new pool and leisure centre in Northfield and these plans show they are as good as their word.

“So I want to congratulate the council on its investment – particularly when the city is suffering such big cuts from the Government.”

Your views

Partnership Manager Jamie Bryant overseeing the project said: “The new facility will offer a fantastic, modern, purpose built modern space for recreation, sport and the community.  We are now consulting on our plans and would like to hear from local residents and community groups.”

Feedback can be emailed directly to the Partnership Manager at Jamie.bryant@serco.com

Exhibition details:

  • Date: Wednesday 13th April, 2016
  • Time: 2pm – 7pm
  • Where: Northfield Pool & Fitness Centre, Bristol Road South, Northfield B31 2PD View map

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I am prepared to wait and see a proper drawing but first impressions.. it look awful. A lovely 1930’s facade being removed and a glass lump being put in its place. More council vandalism dressed up as “modern” . No effort being put into the external design of a signature building. We’ll live to regret how it looks.

  2. Same here, would like to see plans, also is there any energy saving equipment ie solar panels for hot water, heat recovery from pool back wash, rain water harvesting etc. Parking is small area, would it possible to have parking beneath the whole complex, thus more people can use the facilities there? KEEP THE EXISTING FACADE.

  3. Harborne leisure centre is a nightmare to visit, there is a massive lack of parking considering the facilities on offer pushing users to park on the main road and local streets. The government has already criticised the planning controls/requirements for developments, these plans should ensure that the number of planned spaces are suitable for use.

  4. There aren’t many buildings in Northfield worth looking at but the Swimming Baths is very attractive and a lovely Art Deco building which should be kept as something of real value in our area. It isn’t surprising that the philistine Birmingham council has decided to destroy it and replace it with what loos like a Finnish sauna. I hope Northfield residents resist this outrage to the end and boot out the remaining and pathetic apologist Labour councillor next week – I remember he promised that West Heath library would be rebuilt – now he is going along with his party leaders in defending giving West Heath a sort of library in a building situated a long walk from the centre of West Heath which will actually be in Kings Norton. The demolition of Northfield swimming baths building will be another blow to Northfield.